I have been fortunate enough to not be affected by the COVID-19 virus directly. No one in my family has tested positive, and I am thankful for that because I have several high-risk family members. If I wanted to see certain members of my family, I would have to stay six feet away from them and wear my mask. In my day-to-day life, I have to wear my mask, use hand sanitizer, wash my hands, and take other precautions so that I have the best chance of staying healthy. Covid-19 guidelines are here for a reason, and, if they didn?t work, I am sure everyone would have or had COVID-19 already. It makes me upset when people don?t wear masks in stores because they are uncomfortable or they don?t believe in this pandemic. I would like them to walk into an ICU and see just how uncomfortable the people are with COVID-19. This real-life experience might just change their minds.
One experience that has directly impacted me during the COVID-19 pandemic is my mental health. I didn?t have any pre-existing mental health issues before COVID-19, but this shutdown was a big adjustment for me. I am a naturally shy person, and it can be hard for me to talk to people sometimes, and this has added to my social quietness. During the countrywide lockdown, I did not have any social interaction with anybody other than my family. When schools opened back up, and I was able to go back to my job and school, I developed severe anxiety. Not being able to use my social skills made it very stressful for me to be just thrown back into the swing of things. Using breathing techniques and other anxiety coping mechanisms given to me by a counselor, I now have very manageable anxiety. I feel like I have reached a new normal, and I am terrified that schools and my job will get shut down again. Not having a schedule would set off a chain reaction in my body, and I?m afraid my anxiety would flare up again. Many people need a set schedule in their lives to help them regulate their mental health, and this pandemic is anything but predictable.